* Prices may differ from that shown
Star – Peter Drinklage
Genre – Fantasy
Run Time – 10 x 50 minutes
Certificate – 18
Country – US
Golden Globe Winner
Amazon – £11.99 DVD - £16.99 Blue Ray
Series Awards – 201 Wins & 333 Nominations
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If a TV show is as talked about as much as Game of Thrones and has a 9.5 rating on the Imdb then who am I to ignore it? It’s has taken me five long years to take a look, though, as it’s just not my thing. It’s the fourth highest rating TV series ever on the movie database and was the first TV show on IMDB to get more than one million votes from users. Its number 4 in their all time list behind Band of Brothers (1), Planet Earth (2) and Breaking bad (3). Band of Brothers better than The West Wing? Seriously!
===The top 10===
1. Band of Brothers (2001) 9.5
2. Planet Earth (2006) 9.5
3. Breaking Bad (2008) 9.4
4. Game of Thrones (2011) 9.4
5. The Wire (2002) 9.4
6. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014) 9.3
7. Rick and Morty (2013) 9.2
8. Cosmos (1980) 9.2
9. The Sopranos (1999) 9.2
10. Sherlock (2010)
It’s based on the books by George R R Martin, an old chubby bearded chap that would not be out of place in his fantasy adventures and openly admits he was inspired to write his novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire" because of the success of the Lord of the Rings films back in 2001. TV producers and writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss couldn’t put the books down and knew they had a winner on their hands. But unlike Harry Potter, Twilight and Hunger Games they felt a TV series would be better as there was just too much story and adventure to pack into just three movies. Seven boxset’s later and billions of pounds in the bank HBO and Mr Martin were very happy indeed they took it on. As of 2014, it is the most watched HBO TV-Series of all time, with an average viewership of 16.1 million (Season 4), slightly ahead of a record which was previously held by The Sopranos (1999), who placed fifth in the Imdb list. This was the first TV series in history to be screened in IMAX theaters. Because of its cure audience demographic of being young and teenage geeky Goth bedroom rats it was the most pirated TV show of 2015 for the fourth consecutive year, ahead of The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory.
If you didn’t know the concept it’s about seven realms of a mythical world with seven Kings and Queens in charge, one of them deemed the King of all seven realms, usually decided by war and arranged marriage, known as the game of Thrones. Some prominent families rule the realms and some more righteous than others, a land of magic, war and tradition producing those 8 series to date.
Sean Bean as Eddard "Ned" Stark
Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister
Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont
Aidan Gillen as Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish
Harry Lloyd as Viserys Targaryen
Kit Harington as Jon Snow
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
Richard Madden as Robb Stark
Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy
Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark
Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon
Rory McCann as Sandor "The Hound" Clegane
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
‘Ned’ Stark (Sean Bean) is a gallant and swashbuckling Knight and Lord of the kingdom of Winterfall, the gatekeeper of the mighty 200ft wall that keeps the danger of the north out of the rest of Kingdoms of the Westeros. The rather lecherous and decadent King of the seven realms, Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy), is in town and has asked his friend Ned to be his chief advisor (known as the Hand of the King). How could Ned refuse and so pledges loyalty to his king.
Ned and his wife Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) receive a letter from Catelyn's sister, Lysa (Kate Dickie) that gives them reason to believe that rival House Lannister – to which the King's wife Cersei(Lena Headey) belongs – was the cause of the previous Hand's death. Ned travels south with his wife and two girls, Sansa (Sophie Turner) and Arya (Maisie Williams) to help the king and find out who killed the previous Hand, Jon Arryn (John Standing), while trying to protect his family from the rather Arian Lannister family, the handsome and equally arrogant Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) also in town.
Meanwhile, across the Narrow Sea in the continent of Essos, the exiled Viserys Targaryen (Harry Lloyd), son of the former king whose throne was stolen, believes he is rightful claim to the Iron throne and so king of all kingdoms. His plan is to marry off his younger sister, Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke, the familiar blonde one you may know), to the Neanderthal leader of the Dothraki warrior tribe, Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), in an exchange for a mighty army to return to the realm of Westeros and take the throne. At first the beautiful Daenery is horrified by the ignorant and backward tribe and their leader but eventually begins to fall for the man mountain Drogo to be Queen of the Khaleesi that will make her one of the most powerful Queens of the realms, known only as the Dragon lady to the peasant tribe.
Back at the wall winter is coming and there are dark rumblings that the feared ‘Whitewalkers’ are awakening from their 1000-year sleep, the living dead with fearsome blue eyes. Ned's bastard born son Jon Snow (Kit Harington) joins the Night's Watch in preparation, an ancient brotherhood sworn to watch over the massive Wall. Although a fine swordsman he will need to become a man soon as war is brewing and dark forces are leaving the woods and heading his way.
Lord Stark is also in great danger as he uncovers some truths in the House of Baratheon. Some want to help him, like the playboy drawf Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) and the rather Machiavellian Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish (Aidan Gillen), but who to believe as the game of thrones begins and the heads begin to roll.
The mark of the pedigree of a classic TV series is one that still holds its original price of £11.99 on the Amazon catalogue some 5-years after its release date. It’s clearly a TV series they won’t drop the price on as people will come around to in the end as they don’t want to miss out on this boxset event, as did I. It’s like watching a virtual game of chess as the king’s move slowly but meaningfully holding power as the queen’s race around court shaping the next kings. We have pawns and knights, bishops and castles, and some dungeons and dragons. Its geek heaven.
What I like about HBO is they don’t worry about demographics and likely fiscal returns to new TV series and simply give the producers the money to go away and make it. It’s very much the station of choice for those who want to make their visions. Game of Thrones is certainly that, the average cost of production per episode around $6 million dollars. One episode cost $10 million! This puts the show on a par with 'Friends' (1994 - 2004) as the most expensive TV show of all time.
It’s like an adult version of Lord of the Rings with that pithy dialect and attention to detail to keep the books integrity but a lot of gratuitous sex and violence to earn that 18 rating. There is a lot of sex and impressive naked bodies on show but it feels forced to keep those teenage boys on board. The violence is more acceptable and works in contest and sometimes comical and if broad sword can be wielded then they will. If someone needs to be stabbed through the brain or lanced through the helmet on a horse then so be it.
There are a lot of characters to be developed in series one and the ones you think are being set up to last the whole series may prove not to be indestructible as they look, a concurrent theme throughout the seven boxsets, I’m told. Because of that scene setting and character building the first series takes time to get going and you do wonder what all the fuss is about after the first five episodes. It was bit like that with Breaking Bad to be fair. It dose go through the gears in the final two episodes and sets up the second series. We enjoyed Lord of the Rings for its vast panoramas and battle scene and that’s what I am expecting from this in series two.
On the whole well acted and some great locations and authentic feel and enjoyable cartoon performances to enjoy. Its obvious Sean Bean was bought in as the big name to see the concept to viewers and the rest of the cast fairly unknown. Charles Dance brings his familiar droll self to add some pedigree and Peter Dinklage great fun as the wisecracking imp. Sansa Stark is played by Northampton actress Sophie Turner, who wisely left when she was 2 to greater things.
Imdb.com – 9.5/10.0 (1.543, 979 votes)
Rottentomatos.com – 89% critic’s approval
Metacritic.com – 88% critic’s approval
-Audio Commentaries –
There are a lot of them
- The Making of the Idea-
- Creating the Doltraik language-
- Creating the Game of Thrones credits-
-The Night Watch-
-Guide of Westeros-
-Book to Film-
Tampa Bay Times –‘It's the stuff of fantasy geek heaven; a gritty period drama with letter-perfect clothes, weapons and lingo, yet unencumbered by historical facts or the weight of real events’.
TV Equals –‘The series was created with such care, it has so many intricate elements that brings this world alive. It's like peeking into a microcosm!’.
Media Life –‘The main accomplishment of Game of Thrones is that, while it should keep the hard-core fans satisfied, even viewers who don't care whether Theon is a Greyjoy or a Tully can play along and have a good time’.
TV Guide –‘HBO has found its answer to Lord of the Rings in adapting George R.R. Martin's enthralling, sprawling, ruthlessly brutal and magnificently entertaining series of page-turners’.
LA Times –‘A great and thundering series of political and psychological intrigue bristling with vivid characters, cross-hatched with tantalizing plotlines and seasoned with a splash of fantasy’.
Hollywood Reporter –‘Worth the wait? Absolutely. And even if you have no idea what all the fuss is about, you should get in from the start to absorb Martin's fantastical tale’.
Game of Thrones Series One
We have all heard of Game of Thrones, whether you have watched it or not, we have all heard the name thrown about whether it be on a Sky Atlantic advert or a poster/billboard, it is one of the biggest TV shows on tv right now!
I am a “newbie” to Game of Thrones (GoT for short), I started watching the DVDs in April last year, when the new series had started, my best friend got me into the show and lend me the first 3 series of the show, within a week I had completed all 3 and was HOOKED! I am now an avid show watcher and have started (and almost finished) the book series too. But this review is about Series One only! And don’t worry you won’t get any spoilers from me!
Game of Thrones is set in the fictional “world” of Westeros, it is a medieval/fantasy programme, but is not set in a specific time in history or in a specific country. It is claimed that Westeros is loosely based on the UK (the actors all speak in a British accent) and British history. The “Seven Kingdoms” of Westeros are ruled by King Robert Baratheon, with his wife the Queen, Cersei Lannister at his side and their 3 children Joffrey, Myrcella and Tommen. They live in the South- in Kings Landing. Up in the North, in Winterfell is King Roberts old and faithful pal Eddard “Ned” Stark, he is the Warden of the North, with his wife Catelyn, and their children Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon and their “bastard” son Jon Snow (he is Ned’s son from another woman when he was off at war fighting for Roberts throne- even now in Season 4 we do not know what Jon’s parentage is).
There are numerous other characters in series one, with The Nights Watch who guard the 700ft Ice Wall in the north to stop the White Walkers from coming into the Seven Kingdoms and taking over Westeros, there is Daenerys and her brother Viserys Targaryen in the East- riding with a Dothraki Kahlsar with Khal Drogo their leader. The entire story is about the “Iron Throne”, a massively uncomfortable Throne with the seated ruling the entirety of the Seven Kingdoms. There are more claimants to the throne than I care to mention, and the whole Game of Thrones story, is the story of the fight for the Iron Throne with a lot of magic and mystery thrown in for good measure!
Without giving away too much of the story, there is not a massive amount that I can say with regards to the plot of Game Of Thrones, but expect bloodshed, murder, sex, love, betrayal, treason…and that is just the first episode!
Who is the show for:
The Series is classified as 18, not suitable for those aged 17 and under, and this is due to the mature themes/ violence/ mild horror/ scenes of a sexual nature and much more which is shown in most episodes! There is a lot of bad language and bloodshed and the show can be quite gruesome at times. Definitely wait until the kids are tucked up in bed before watching the show!
I never thought I would like this show. I absolutely hate Medieval/historic shows, and simply refused to watch them, I was basically bullied into watching it by my friend who was obsessed by it, and to shut her up, I told her I would give one episode a try to see if I liked it. She spoke the whole way through and I can’t say I was overly impressed, but I took the DVD home and gave it another go when I was on my own without her wittering on…and I managed to watch the entire series in the matter of 2 days. I was officially hooked! Whilst it is medieval- it isn’t a historic show…there is a good mix of humour (from Tyrion Lannister usually, the Queens dwarf brother played by Peter Dinklage, the only American actor in the show) and drama, romance and violence.
You may sit reading this thinking that Game of Thrones doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, but I urge you, give it a go, watch the first 2 episodes- it will take just 2 hours of your life, and make an informed decision!
Season 1 Box Set (DVD)
Leading Role 1 Iain Glen
Leading Role 2 Peter Dinklage
Leading Role 3 Sean Bean
Additional Roles by Michelle Fairley, Lena Headey, Ron Donachie, Jack Gleeson, Maisie Williams, Richard Madden
Director 1 Brian Kirk
Director 2 Alan Taylor
Director 3 Daniel Minahan
Additional Directors Timothy Van Patten
Producer Mark Huffam
Release Format DVD
Release Year 2012
Additional Genre General
Subtitle Languages Croatian, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Greek, Hebrew, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish
Running Time 500 minutes
Complete Guide to Westeros
An interactive compendium of the noble houses and lands featured in season one.
Making Game of Thrones
An exclusive 30-minute feature including never-before-seen footage from the set and interviews from the cast and crew.
Profiles of 15 major characters as described by the actors portraying them.
Creating the Show Open
An inside look at the creation of the Emmy®-winning opening title sequence for Game of Thrones.
From the Book to the Screen
Executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss along with author George R.R. Martin talk about the challenges of bringing Martin's epic fantasy novel to life on HBO.
The Night's Watch
An in-depth look at the unique order of men who patrol and protect the Wall, a 700 foot ice structure that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the darkness beyond.
Creating the Dothraki Language
An insightful glance into the comprehensive language created for the Dothraki people in Game of Thrones.
Seven audio commentaries with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Bryan Cogman, Harry Lloyd, Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor.
Amazon are selling Series 1 box set for £13.40 with Free P&P brand new (Feb 2015), buying second hand will cost you less, and Series 1 is currently on Now TV on demand in the run up to the release of Season 5 in April.
Game Of Thrones is the ambitious recreation of George.R.R.Martin''s epic, sprawling fantasy series of novels on the small screen and is one of the most-watched/ most pirated shows on television at the moment.
Set in a medieval world where dragons and magic have long since died out, the plot follows a mythical land thrown into chaos when a conspiracy is revealed that indicates one particular family, the Lannisters, are working hard to control the throne. Ned Stark is an honest and highly moral man who fights to uncover the truth as the King''s hand, but soon finds himself involved in a very deadly game!
The first thing you need to know about this series is that it is complicated. When the Kingdom descends into chaos, suddenly everyone wants a piece of the throne and it can be difficult at times keeping in mind who is who, but believe me when I say the pay-off is worth it!
This is one of the most brutal shows ever to be featured on television and things you can expect to see include incest, infanticide, glorious depictions of both sex and violence that are not ashamed to flaunt themselves openly and more intrigue and political subterfuge than you can shake a stick at!
If you like hard-hitting fantasy that is less Lord Of The Rings and much more War Of The Roses, this is for you. There are Dragons, but they only come much,much later.
No expense has been spared making this show and it''s backdrops as life-like and realistic as possible. One of the most breath-taking sights is the wall of the North; a 700 foot wall of ice, made to keep those known as the White Walkers on the other side. But everything about this show is as beautiful and as wonderfully created as it is dark!
This show has had such a wide appeal that it has become one of the highest ranking shows of all time already and seems to have a very wide and varied appeal.
As a big fan of the books, I am very pleased at its success and though this first season takes a little while to truly get off the ground, once it does I dare you not to become hooked!
The best thing about owning this DVD? As well as giving you the chance to re-watch the show as often as you like, it also includes a guide to all the various families.
So what are you waiting for? Season 4 has just started, time to catch up...
Despite my taste for fantasy based RPG video games, I've never really been too much into fantasy, for two main reasons. First, my introduction to fantasy was Tolkien, and after being spoiled rotten by that every other author seemed to pale into insignificance next to the enormity of his works, and second, a lot of it doesn't seem to be fantastical. So at first I wasn't too bothered that I hadn't seen HBO's enormous spend-a-thon, but I borrowed the first season and after watching it, found myself compelled to watch the second. And the third.
Set in the world of Westeros, it's an amalgam of all sorts of places and people that will be strangely familiar to anyone with even a passing interest in medieval history. This is one of the gripes that I have with it - I said that a lot of fantasy isn't fantastical, and clearly the creators (and presumably author of the original books, George RR Martin) have drawn upon real historical events and antiquities throughout. The main plot is the Wars of the Roses (York vs Lancaster, Stark vs. Lannister? *cough*), with err, Hadrian's wall and the Picts, Mongolian/Ottoman eastern nomads, 'wild' northmen (Vikings) and lots of Tudor-esque backdrops. OK there are frozen zombies, bits of spooky black magic and BIG hints about dragons thrown in, but this isn't really all that strong in the imagination department when it comes to cooking up the wild and weird. The creator's forte lies within his ability to weave a complex web of feuding houses, familial ties and oaths that are tested, and plot and counterplot being unleashed in a scheming world of duplicitous politicians.
Truth be told, it didn't grab me at first, and took several episodes to get into it. This is probably due to the large cast of characters and scant introduction to events and places. The first few episodes were a little bit confusing, with plenty of moments where my wife and I were asking each other "uhh, who's he again? Is he a Stark? Whasshisname? Where's that?". By the time we'd finished the season though, it was fairly well ingrained, but it might be worth watching twice just to get all the relationships and balances of power that this series includes.
The story opens with Ned Stark (Sean Bean), one of the lords of the northernmost of the seven major noble houses that are ruled over by one king, being asked to become the 'King's Hand', a position of importance as the major civil servant to do all the king's work, of which there is a lot. The current king, Robert Baratheon, seems to have more interest in getting drunk and going hunting like a heavily stereotyped Henry VIII, and all the boring kingly duties can be done by Ned. An honorable and good man, Ned struggles to come to terms with all the backbiting and double-crossing that goes with the job. Unsure whom to trust, he makes a discovery about the real origins of king Robert's heir, the utterly loathsome Joffrey, and his sense of honour vs. honesty will have dire consequences for the whole kingdom should he voice these truths...
BUT there's loads more than that. The whole thing is riddled with sub-plots and side stories that intertwine. For example, there is tension between Ned and his wife, the upstanding Kat, as she does not wish to see her family move to the south. Then there's Ned's illegitimate son, Jon Snow, who is despised by Kat and is sent to join the Night's Watch (the Roman soldiers on Hadrian's wall that keep all the zombies and thugs at bay), and is sent careering off into a whole big tangent of a story of his own. Then there's the real heiress to the throne, the girl with the unpronounceable name and the dragon eggs who looks to raise an army and claim it back, even though she's 2000 miles away... Attention to detail is a laudable trait in writing, and this often teeters on the edge of losing itself. The sheer number of threads and characters is probably the biggest problem with this series. Unless of course you have a problem with nudity, sex, violence and lots of bad language. If you do, then DO NOT watch this, it's about as safe for work as any website ending in ".xxx".
There's been a fair amount of flak aimed at this series for the above reasons, but I'm not so sure that it's all warranted. If you're going to portray a world that is dirty, dangerous and morally ambiguous, these are all things that need to be in there. The soldiers (of which there are lots) swear like, well, soldiers. And they do soldierly things, like decapitating or gutting foes with swords and axes, which has never been a glamorous business and shouldn't be sanitised, even when it is all make believe. It's been decried as denigrating to women, as a lot of the cast engage in what has been dubbed 'sexposition', as the use of whore-houses by the characters is common. Or, that the female characters are weak and ineffective courtly ladies - this I would challenge, as Cersei Lannister rivals Lady Macbeth for her scheming abilities, Kat Stark isn't afraid to stand up for herelf and her daughter, Arya, is probably the gutsiest of them all, being played out like some sort of Tudor Natalie Portman from 'Leon'. And again, anyone who has studied medieval history will be aware that the knightly and noble classes were usually far from the distorted ideals thrust upon them by the Victorians; here the majority of them are most definitely in the self-serving, hypocritical camp. And in case that isn't enough apology, then remember, this is a fantasy world with made up people and society, not some mirror or commentary on current or past social mores. Even if it were, frankly I'd still find TOWIE or Big Brother far more degrading to portrayals of women, men and their relationships. And that really is all for real, sadly.
I digress. Back to the show.
The dialogue lurches from leaden to snappy, and having just finished the second series, I think the writers were finding their feet with this one. However, the casting is great. On the side you're supposed to root for, Sean Bean does his thing as 'honorable chap mired in dishonour', Kit Harrington is believable and likeable as the self-exiled bastard son who has inherited his father's honour but not his mother's love, and Maisie Williams is excellent as wild but streetwise Arya Stark. On the opposite side of the fence, Jacl Gleeson is brilliant as the utterly loathsome Joffrey, Lena Headey as his mother Cersei who is a mental mix of sweetness and venom, and Peter Dinklage turns out a great performance as the funny, clever and morally ambiguous Tyrion Lannister, and is by far the most charismatic, winning the audience over and stealing scenes left, right and centre.
In all, I found the whole thing a compelling, almost cartoonish watch, with the plot twisting and keeping me guessing as the characters and events threw up obstacles and schemes. The sets are stunning as well, with an exacting level of detail - the geek in me even was given a treat in spotting the characters drinking from glassware clearly based upon Anglo-Saxon finds, and early medieval style drinking horns. Filmed all over the world, the scenery of Westeros is Ireland, Scotland, Morocco, Iceland... it's as gorgeous to watch as the panoramic shots of New Zealand that created Middle Earth in Lord of the Rings.
If you're looking for something to fill the void after the epic feasts that were Lord of the Rings or 'Rome', this bridges that gap nicely. As I said, this isn't for the easily offended, and I certainly wouldn't recommend it for younger viewers due to the strong nature of the content. Also, be prepared to be in for the long haul, as they're starting production on Season 4.
Winter is coming, but this box set might help to while away the dark nights. Just don't take it too seriously.
This will have you gripped from episode one, guaranteed.
My partner watched this first and I was adamant it was not my thing, seeing only Knights and Castles it did not appeal to me. I then reluctantly gave it ago and watched the whole box set within a week (which with a full time job and 3 children shows utter dedication!)
It is thought provoking, entertaining, humerous and utterly fantastic. Initially it is hard to keep up with the characters, who is bad who is good, and even after season 3 you still question this. Ned, played by sean penn is casted brilliantly, he is a good salt of the earth northern bloke who owns Winterfell with is wife 4 children and his 'bastard', he is also the Kings hand who is an overweight alcoholic cruel man though a life long friend of Neds. The King asks many indecent things of Ned and morality and deceny comes into question a lot though Ned always does the right thing, a real lovable character.
The Queen is younger than the King and utterly beautiful though an extremely evil heart. She has born all her brothers babies and passed them off as the Kings, this tale gets increasingly more interesting as the episodes go on.
Game of Thrones has so many twists and turns, new characters, plots, plans and episodes to give you tears, laughs and compel you to watch the next.
Game of Thrones, where do I start! If you are looking for a TV program to challenge Lost, Prison Break, Dexter etc this is it. Great story line, great characters and great action scenes.
The story follows different families and their claim to the Iron Throne. There is everything you need from a TV series and much more. I started watching Game of Thrones late (2012 after series 2 was aired) and I ended up watching both series within 2 weeks, you will want to do the same after starting this series.
This TV show is adapter from the book "A Song of Ice and Fire", written by George R. R. Martin's (expertly I might add!). After watching this series, I went away and read this book and it is fantastic, i truly recommend anybody who enjoys the TV series to go away and read the book, you won't be disappointed.
+++SPOILER ALERTS BELOW+++
+++Characters and Plot+++
The majority of season 1 focuses on the Stark's, the Baratheon's / Lannister's and the Targaryen's stories.
The Stark's are one of the oldest families in Westeros and are the keepers of the North. They are a loyal and traditional family that are true to their word. I felt myself becoming attached to the Stark's and felt they deserved to be treated with more respect than many of the other characters gave them, mainly the Lannister's.
Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean, is the head of the household and Lord of Winterfell, the Stark's home. You spend the majority of the first few episodes getting to know the Stark's, Ned's children, his wife and really what life in Winterfell is like.
The Baratheon's rule over Westeros, and Robert Baratheon (King of Westeros), travels to Winterfell to ask Ned (his old friend) to serve as his right hand man, something that Ned feels he has no choice but to accept. The plot twists begin at this point as Robert's wife, Cersei Lannister, shows her dislike for the Stark's and it is clear, the Lannister's are not to be trusted. I felt from the first moment the King was introduced he was certain to meet his doom because of his wife's family.
While there is disruption over in Westeros, the previous ruling family, the Targaryens, are plotting to regain the Iron Throne. You are taken to a far away land and shown how they are trying to build an army that will place their family as leaders of Westeros once again.
There are twist and turns, unexpected story lines and events that I would never have dreamed possible from a TV series. You are built up to like a character, then they turn or something happens to them. This is the first program where I have felt no character is safe, anything can happen and it leaves you wanting more.
Suspense is built throughout and it leaves you sitting on the edge of your seat, unable to move through fear of missing a vital plot point.
My only criticism is that due to the size of the story, it sometimes feel rushed and you find yourself having to back pedal to find one line of dialogue that explains a characters actions. If you aren't concentrating 100% and taking every line in, you will miss things!
If you don't like violence, swearing or sex scenes, this program probably isn't for you. However, these scenes give you an understanding of the characters, they let you see what they are thinking and are essential to the storyline.
If you enjoy twists and turns and the unexpected, you will love Game of Thrones!
I would be the first to confess that I'm a little late to board the Game of Thrones bandwagon - with it being released in 2011 and only just getting round to watch it! Initially, I couldn't see the appeal - I tend not to take interest in things that I haven't accustomed myself to and Game of Thrones was no exception. I was quite happy knowing that I'd watched the likes of 'Lost' and 'Prison Break' and more recently 'Heroes', and couldn't possibly see how Game of Thrones would ever match up to these mighty 'primetime' competitors. How. Wrong. I. Was.
(Spoiler Alert) Game of Thrones, as its name suggests, revolves around four families fighting for the right to rule over a territory know as 'Westeros' and take their place as rightful ruler. These four families each believe they have a strong case to rule over the 7 kingdoms of Westeros. Currently, the 'Iron Throne' (as it is known) is occupied by Robert Baratheon, of house Baratheon. He has a son called Joffrey, the so-called rightful heir to the Iron Throne. The opening episode sees Robert Baratheon visit one of the 7 kingdoms that he rules over, known as Winterfell, on a trip to visit and seek council from his good friend Eddard (Ned) Stark. Here, he announces Ned as the new 'hand of the King', or more simply, the fellow who does all his dirty work! As the new hand of the King, Ned has a duty to leave the city of Winterfell and take up Robert Baratheon's side at Kings Landing (the home of the King). Here, Ned discovers the true identity of Joffrey Baratheon - he is in fact the son of the Queen and her brother (yes, incest is quite prevalent throughout the story, and has no rightful claim to the throne. Joffrey is in fact of house Lannister - and alongside Stark and Baratheon, the third of the four families fighting for the Iron Throne.
Meanwhile, in the neighbouring plains of 'Essos' - across a vast ocean - lives a brother and sister counterpart by the names of Daenarys and Viserys, of house Targaryen. Initially, Viserys (the brother) sells his sister to a group of tribe-like warriors known as the Dothraki. In return for his sister, he plans to the lead the Dothraki over the great sea and conquer the seven kingdoms to take his rightful place as King. You should note, during the first episode it becomes apparent that before Robert Baratheon was King, the father of Daenarys and Viserys was King - but was brutally murdered by Jamie Lannister (the Queens incest lover). Wow - this really is a game of thrones, and very hard to explain! Anyway, the Dothraki become tired of Viserys and kill him, leaving Daenarys as rightful heir to the throne. House Targaryen is the last of the four houses fighting for the Iron Throne, so we have; Baratheon, Stark, Lannister and Targaryen all fighting for the throne - what a mess!
A recurring and somewhat prevalent theme throughout Game of Thrones are the respective sigil's that occupy each house. A sigil is a banner which represents the house. The Kingdoms of Westeros and Essos are scattered with mythical beasts and so become a recurring theme throughout the storyline. The sigils of each house are as follows;
*** House Stark - The Dire Wolf - Each of the 5 Stark children are given a dire wolf pup in the opening episode. Personally, I would have liked to have seen the dire wolves feature more in the storyline - they are however viciously fierce when a member of the Stark family is in danger and do, on a number of occasions save their lives.
*** House Targaryen - The Dragon - Season one sees Daenarys acquire three dragon eggs as a wedding present when she marries the leader of the Dothraki - Khal Drogo. We see how much of a caring person she becomes - mothering the eggs, but whether they hatch or not is another thing!
*** House Lannister - The Lion - There is no prevalent occurrence of any lions in the storyline! However, the lion represents the Lannister's pride in their house name. Tywin Lannister (the grandfather of Joffrey) expresses this throughout the story, highlighting that the Lannister name will prevail long after the lifetimes of the current generation and it is their duty to ensure it is feared among the 7 Kingdoms.
*** House Baratheon - The Stag- Similarly to Lannister, the stag has no occurrence during the storyline of Game of Thrones. The stag represents the hunt, which is ironic - as Robert Baratheon actually dies when hunting wild boar - which sees Joffrey as King at the end of the first season!
Eddard (Ned) Stark - Portrayed by Sean Bean. Ned is arguably the main protagonist during the first season as we see his journey from Winterfell to Kings Landing unfold. His relationship with his sons and daughter Arya especially, develop throughout the first season and we see a soft side to Ned. He his arguably the most level-headed, honourable characters throughout the entire season and his thoughts regarding the succession to the throne are admirable. Sean Bean plays his part fantastically and is for me, the star character in the first season. He doesn't 'make the cut' for the second season however, if you catch my drift!
Robert Baratheon - Portrayed by Mark Addy. Mark for me, is the perfect person to play the role of King. His rudeness, audaciousness and disregard for his own remarks is a stereotypical portrayal of a King. Considering Game of Thrones somewhat revolves around the War of the Roses, that would make Robert Baratheon, well - Henry VIII! Perfect! As the plot unfolds, we find that his son Joffrey is not his son at all. During Ned's investigation into Joffrey, he stumbles upon a young blacksmith called Gendry - who is later revealed as Roberts bastard son - and the rightful heir to the throne. Gendry doesn't feature much until season 2 and 3.
Cersys and Jamie Lannister - Portrayed by Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, respectively. These two are somewhat of the sinister type. The opening episode sees Jamie push Ned's son from a window after he had discovered their incest! Cersys is continually over-protective of Joffrey and has a blatant disregard for the laws of the Kingdom. She is the only character to quote 'game of thrones', I am aware of, to date.
Tyrion Lannister - Portrayed by Peter Dinklage. Tyrion brings the comedy element to Game of Thrones. His quick wit and equally as quick tongue sees him escape unscathed from many tedious situations. As the story unfolds we begin to sympathise with Tyrion as we bare witness to his fathers disrespect toward him - due to him being a dwarf. Tyrion is by far my favourite character throughout the entire three seasons and although this is a season one review - Tyrion definitely grows into a lovable and caring character as the story unfolds.
Daenarys Stormborn, House Targaryen - Portrayed by Emilia Clarke. Second to Tyrion, Daenarys is my next favourite character. She is a caring person and her struggle with her husband Khal Drogo makes the audience empathise with Daenarys. She calls herself the mother of dragons (spoiler) and goes from city to city freeing slaves. Her kindness sees her into trouble during the first season - saving a woman who turns out to have a very hidden agenda!
There are a number of recurring characters who feature in almost every episode but I have tried to contain the review to the houses fighting for the Iron Throne. There are a number of separate and branching stroylines that are present and the interconnected web of networks that have been created is special.
'A mix between soft-core porn and Lord of the Rings' a friend once quoted to me regarding Game of Thrones and it's quite an accurate description. There is an overwhelming amount of nudity and scenes of rape and pillaging - but these elements are what brings Game of Thrones to life. It adds a quality that I believe cannot be achieved otherwise. Certain emotions cannot be accessed without scenes of such nature - the fact that it is done in a respectful way is commendable. The mix of characters and personalities are enough to satisfy all audiences and I believe that this is a major factor contributing towards its success - there is a character for everyone to enjoy!
Throughout, there are enough twists and turns for Game of Thrones to be classed as a rollercoaster. There is no doubt you'll be on the edge of your seat after almost every episode begging for more - reaching for that next DVD that whittles another 50 minutes of your life away! But its worth every minute!
It is very hard to find a television series that totally absorbs you. However, with the Game of Thrones, you find yourself attached from the first episode.
The storyline is pretty outstanding and, unlike some movies, it does not rush to the end to soon. Basically, seven noble families fight for control of the land of Westeros. Robert Baratheon, new King of Westeros, asks his old friend Eddard Stark, Lord of Winterfell, to serve as Hand of the King. Eddard was warned that the previous Hand was murdered, Eddard accepts in order to find out the truth. Meanwhile the Queen's family, the Lannisters, may be hatching a plot to take power. All while a very ancient evil awakens in the farthest north, beyond the wall. It is up to 'The Nights Watch' (the military group in charge of guarding the wall) to protect the realm.
Game of Thrones also has a great cast, such as, Sean Bean/Eddard Stark, Mark Addy/Robert Baratheon, Peter Dinklage/Tyrion Lannister, Lena Headey/Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke/Daenerys Targaryen, to name a few.
Overall, great show and I am currently waiting the purchase the second series. 5/5
Amazon - £24.97
HMV - £30.00
ASDA - £24.97
Created by: HBO, David Benioff, D. B. Weiss
Starring: Sean Bean, Lena Headey, Mark Addy
Episode runtime: approx. 60 mins.
Out Now on DVD and Blu-Ray
Based on George R. R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' and further the first novel in this fantasy series with the same name as the TV series (with the addition of an 'A'), 'Game of Thrones' is a HBO production. Set in a fantasy world but with clear references to the medieval times, it tells the story of a number of noble families' fight for the throne. This season in particular establishes the main characters and plotlines in preparation for the war for the throne, and the end of a summer a decade long. Winter is coming...
-== The Plot ==-
I could be here all day with this. The strength that Game of Thrones (herein 'GoT') possesses is that it creates a solid balance wherein numerous characters and storylines are present. You may not see one character for an episode or two, but their stories are progressed nicely. I haven't read the novel, but from watching the ten episodes of this series, it would have been IMPOSSIBLE to fit this into a feature-length film.
GoT is set in the fictional continent of Westeros, where seven kingdoms lie, including its capital: King's Landing. Here King Robert Baratheon (Mark Addy) rules, with his queen Cersei Lannister - a brilliantly evil Lena Headey.Their marriage is political, and their relationship empty and loveless. Their son Joffrey (Jack Gleeson) is heir to the throne. But the Lannisters are the richest and most noble family in the land; notably, there's Cersei's father Lord Tywin (Charles Dance), her twin brother Ser Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and her younger dwarf brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage), who lifts right out of the family - so is hugely likeable and provides great entertainment value. The family is immoral and corrupt, and serve as the villainous family in the story.
Lord Eddard Stark, or 'Ned' (Sean Bean), is the head of the Stark family in Winterfell of the North. With him are his wife Catelyn (Michelle Fairley) and their children: Robb (Richard Madden), Sansa (Sophie Turner), who is set to marry Prince Joffrey, the mischievous Arya (Maisie Williams) and Bran (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), while Jon Snow is Ned's bastard son and is sent to Night's Watch, a military order that holds the 'Wall', the border of the north. Meanwhile, a third family, the Targaryens look to take over the throne too, as it was King Robert who overthrew King Targaryen. The (grown-up) children aim to seek vengeance: Viserys (Harry Lloyd) and his sister Daenerys (Emilia Clark). The former plans on offering his sister to win an army, and she marries Khal Drogo of the violent Dothraki army.
Now, with characters in place, some plot: a deserter is caught and returned to Winterfell, where he will be executed. He claims to have seen the 'White Walkers' in motion, a mythological race that has lie dormant for thousands of years. Meanwhile, King Robert makes his way to Winterfell, his first visit in years, to ask Ned to be the Hand of the King. While Catelyn tells him he still has a choice, Ned feels obliged. Catelyn receives a letter from her sister Lysa (Kate Dickie) that it was the Lannisters who killed the previous Hand of the King, who was also her husband, and very close to Ned. They look to investigate further, while Ned travels south with the King.
-== The Review ==-
Many of you will be put off by the word 'fantasy', others will be put off by the word 'medieval'. But GoT is very much a drama, set in a very medieval fantastical land. Yes, there are heavily medieval elements present, such as horses, swords and castles, and there are hugely fantastical elements present too, like dragons, witches and magic, but they're not overly prominent; rather, they provide a backdrop to the story. As aforementioned, there are a lot of character and plotlines to keep in touch with, but you never feel lost. Across 10 episodes ranging from 50-60 minutes, the majority of characters actually receive a small percentage of overall runtime, which is interesting, and justifies the need for multiple seasons - season three will be out next year. But the protagonist, Ned, receives a higher percentage than others, although he too doesn't have a great deal of screentime in certain episodes. What I like about this programme is that it doesn't necessarily rely on one character or actor to run the show - it has balance. Sean Bean is fantastic in the role of Ned, however; his character is hugely likeable, diplomatic, moral and proud, and Bean conveys this excellently. His antithesis is the corrupt Queen Cersei, and Lena Headey provides a cold-hearted bitch of a queen tremendously well. Other characters/actors worth noting are the child actors, most of who have never starred in a film or TV production before! However, you may recognise Prince Joffrey, Jack Gleeson, from 'Batman Begins'. Peter Dinklage is great as dwarf Tyrion also - cunning, hilarious and willing to get out of any situation by offering 'lots of [his family's] gold' - while Emilia Clark, who plays Daenerys Targaryen, is excellent, conveying a convincing sense of progression to her character. The cast, interestingly enough (for an American show) consists mainly of British actors, but I suppose it achieves the Medievalism far more accurately. Season 1 was filmed primarily in Northern Ireland, but is also shot on-location in Malta and Iceland amongst other places.
While I stress that this is a 'drama', there are many differing components to the programme. Firstly, there is combat, whether that be one-on-one sword fights, brutal murders or battles. The combat scenes are very exciting - fresh and never too long. Secondly, there is a leaning towards the appeal of nudity and sex to heighten the programme. There are full-on sex scenes, random nakedness and sometimes more subtle approaches. Thirdly: the fantastical elements, although I will not elaborate further on this. Also worth noting is that there are many a distressing scene in GoT season one - some so distressing that it may deter some from watching. GoT features its fair share of gore, strong language, animal cruelty (although its obviously not real) and quite centrally, incest, in that it forms a vital part of the main plotline. There is a merciless quality in GoT, to the point where it almost completely ignores its audience and provides some highly uncomfortable scenes and storylines. This is a word of warning: do not expect easy viewing 100% of time - or 50% of the time for that matter. That said, overall, the series is absolutely superb. The story is intelligent and composed very well. It explores the politics, corruption and greed of Kingly subjects engrossingly, while constructing convincing characters and relationships. It does seem to gloss over certain aspects and it tends to move very fast at times, but that's simply the nature of adapting novels. The series isn't as spellbinding as a series such as 'The Walking Dead' and 'Homeland', in that its not full of shocking twists, turns and cliffhangers; rather, it finds its shocks and strengths in plot development and characters.
Elaborating on a previous point, the setting is phenomenal. Instead of relying heavily on CGI, like certain productions do, the decision to shoot on-location is a great one, but probably quite unavoidable. Northern Ireland provides a familiar British landscape, and while you could more or less place the likes of Malta and Iceland, the exoticness and lack of familiarity adds formidably to the fantastical elements. The costumes do too - they're excellent, and again contribute to the experience. Ramin Djwadi provides the soundtrack - a German-born, half Iranian composer who rose to prominence thanks to Zimmer's 'Remote Control Productions' - he's one of Zimmer's minions, as I like to call them. His music avoids typical Medievalism, but rather is percussion-driven and on the most part admirably understated. I really like it, and although his theme song isn't immediately enthralling, it improves with repeated listens, which you will inevitably have to do if you watch it, as the brilliant two-minute title sequence is shown at the beginning of every episode - unless you skip it, that is.
-== The Verdict ==-
This could go one of two ways for you. Firstly, the series is sublime, but whether or not you take to it is personal. Game of Thrones has a lot going for it: acting, story, characters, visuals & sound and cute dogs to name but a few, but it runs a few risks in its sheer brutality. I, for one, will take a break before watching the second season, and I think anybody that has seen the first series might relate to that. It's a tale of corruption and struggle that despite possessing fantastical elements, is powerfully realistic in its ruthlessness and characters. I just love first seasons. While certain shows may have superior later series, there is always something magical about the first season. Game of Throne season 1 is a solid entity; it soldiers through confidently, convincingly and excellently and doesn't look back.
Are you reading this review as someone who has heard people shout and rave about Game of Thrones, but are debating whether or not a fantasy T.V series is something you would enjoy? If the answer is "yes" then I know many other people like you. I practically begged some of my friends and family to watch Game of Thrones and when I was met with uncertain lukewarm responses about how "it wasn't their kind of thing", I proceeded to buy it for them (all of them!) as birthday presents with the goal of sharing this compelling television wonder. I did not regret buying them this DVD and they were all most certainly glad I did. One of my friends is presently having withdrawal symptoms after blitzing the series in a matter of days only to realise the second season is not planned for release until spring 2013!
I don't want to go into too much depth about what happens in the DVD as I will not do it justice. However, the basic premise of the story is focussed on a land called Westeros and mostly follows the Starks of Winterfell, who reside in the north of the continent and are preparing for the visit of King Robert Baratheon. Meanwhile there are strange goings on to the north of Winterfell with a sighting of the mysterious "Others", whist across the Narrow Sea, a young exiled Princess, Daenerys Targaryen is being prepared for marriage by her controlling older brother Viserys.
What stands out for me is that there is often no clearly defined "good" or "evil" in this series, more like various shades of grey with some greyer than others. Even some of the warmer characters have their faults and vices and that is what keeps the series as a whole intriguing. Peter Dinklage's Emmy award winning performance as Tyrion Lannister is pure gold.
There are quite a few sex scenes and it does not shy away from violence. What I would say is that it is all befitting of the storyline and is in context, making it seem all that more real.
Game of Thrones sucks you in from episode 1, spits you out by episode 12 and leaves you wanting more. Buy it and you will not be sorry.
The Game of Thrones is an epic tv series I have read the books and the producers and director of the HBO tv show have done the books justice. Yet again Sean Bean is playing a leading role among a great cast. I bought the box set and I couldn't turn it off without wanting to see the next one. It has some great writing along with great actors. The setting is perfect and if you like fantasy then you will love this. It has so many different storylines that have been woven together to make a great suspense action packed tv show. Bring on the next season. The question is, is Sean bean past it? I remember him in sharpe and he can still bring a great presence to the screen these 20 years later. Over the hills and far away but not past it yet. Just wish shy harper was here. With his trusty luck of the Irish six barrel shotgun.
Game of Thrones Season 1.
So, I'm a little bit behind the times as I only just started on the Game of Thrones series and the only thing that upsets me is that I did not start this series sooner. This is an absolutely phenomenal debut season that has had me hooked for the past four days. (Yes, I sat in bed and watched the entire season for four days in a row; no, I do not have a life). I had heard many, many, great things about this show prior to watching it, so I was fully prepared for 10 hours of awesomeness, but I was still amazed by how much I loved it. This is a TV adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novels, the first of which is titled A Game of Thrones, which I fully intend to read now.
It's hard to describe exactly what Game of Thrones is about as there are so many different strands to the story line. At first this confused me a bit as I didn't really see how they all fitted together, but, having reached the end of season one I now see how all these different plot strands tie in together, and it's all very clever. Here is a summary written by Tfilm78 and Cajunman: Seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. Political and sexual intrigue is pervasive. Robert Baratheon, King of Westeros, asks his old friend Eddard, Lord Stark, to serve as Hand of the King, or highest official. Secretly warned that the previous Hand was assassinated, Eddard accepts in order to investigate further. Meanwhile the Queen's family, the Lannisters, may be hatching a plot to take power. Across the sea, the last members of the previous and deposed ruling family, the Targaryens, are also scheming to regain the throne. The friction between the houses Stark, Lannister and Baratheon, and with the remaining great houses Greyjoy, Tully, Arryn, and Tyrell, leads to full-scale war. All while a very ancient evil awakens in the farthest north. Amidst the war and political confusion, a neglected military order of misfits, the Night's Watch, is all that stands between the realms of men and icy horrors beyond.
An absolutely brilliant cast helped considerably to make this series great. Every episode, new characters were introduced and I was always pleasantly surprised to see familiar British faces, all of whom are well known and talented. It was not only the older actors who impressed me, but also the younger ones. Usually with child actors you find that their performances aren't that strong, but it is evident that there is potential for future growth. The difference with these young actors and actresses is that they've already developed their acting skills to such a level that they are just as good and as convincing as their adult co-stars. Some of the main actors include: Sean Bean, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Michelle Fairley, Emilia Clarke, Aidan Gillan, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Charles Dance, Liam Cunningham, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Richard Madden, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, Jack Gleeson, Alfie Allen, John Bradly, Rory McCann, Natalie Dormer, Stephen Dillane, Carice van Houten, James Cosmo, Sibil Kekilli, Jerome Flynn, Conleth Hill, Mark Addy, Harry Lloyd and Jason Momoa. (That was just the main characters!).
You may not recognise all the names, but I guarantee that you will recognise their faces. There were many surprises as I saw some well known actors from many of teenage fantasy films that I have watched so the younger audience will definitely recognise them. The older actors are also instantly recognisable, even if you can't place them, you'll have seen them before. The actors are all British despite this show being an American production (YAY for Britain!).
There are an awful lot of characters in Game of Thrones and sometimes it can be hard to keep up with who's who.There are lots of people who secretly know each other and what with the constant back-stabbing, it can be hard to figure out who's on who's side - but that's what I love about it. This show is absolutely unpredictable. In every single episode something new and exciting happened that genuinely shocked me. I sat through several scenes thinking 'Oh, it's alright, that definitely won't happen and it will all be okay', and most of the time, I was wrong. This show is genuinely impossible to predict as there are so many twist and turns at every corner. Just when you think that you've got everything sussed, some other piece of information is revealed to make you believe otherwise.
Game of Thrones is aired on HBO, alongside the likes of True Blood, so it's not surprising that this show is full of gory, borderline horrific, scenes, as well as scenes of a (very) sexual nature. I think someone should invent a 'Game of Thrones Drinking Game'. If you took a shot for every time you saw a man or woman's private parts and a shot for every time you saw blood spurting out of a dying body, you would be very drunk, very quickly. I am no stranger to gore, nor horror, though I still found myself twitching as I watched some of these scenes. I am glad to say; however, that these scenes are very realistic. It is so easy for these incredibly bloody scenes to just look ridiculous as if there's coloured water or ketchup flying across the scene, but these shots are very realistic, in fact, a little too realistic for my liking. It is clear that incredible detail has been put into making these scenes as realistic as possible because the camera often zooms in on the characters wounds and I have believed that every single one of them could have been real. These scenes are often quite impromptu as well which makes them all the more dramatic and shocking.
My one criticism of this show is that I'm still not really sure about whether magic exists in this world or not. For the most part it seems that it doesn't, and yet there are moments when it is mentioned but never fully explored. I am now assuming that is does, but I am still not one hunded percent sure. In addition, the plot strand that was revealed in the very first scene was never really explored but I was always wondering about it in the back of my mind. There was a little more development of this in the last episode and I hope that this will be fully explained in season 2.
Game of Thrones is an incredible series that I cannot recommend enough! I'd say that this show would be great for fans of Merlin and Lord of the Rings as there are some similarities between them. I did find myself covering my eyes or gasping with shock on many occasions, so this show is definitely not for the faint hearted. Just to prove how awesome it is, here's a random fact: The first season debuted in the U.S. on April 17, 2011. Two days later, it was picked up for a second season, which began airing on April 1, 2012. Nine days later, it was picked up for a third season.
Game of Thrones is one of those series, where the books it is based on become hugely popular many years after the first publication. Imagine in twenty years time, Harry Potter would be barely known, and then this boom of interest.
I liken it to Lord of the Rings in the title, and I don't feel I am wrong in doing so, as they are both magnificent fantasy series which span many books.
The series is based originally around a hold in the North and the noble house of Stark that inhabit it.
As the story progresses, the King leaves the capital to ask Lord Stark to become his Hand, and soon cracks begin to show in the stability of the Kingdom.
War threatens to overcome the land of Westeros when the King dies, and his less than regal son Joffrey takes the throne.
The show focuses on a small selection of houses to begin with, House Stark who rule the North and keep it safe and in order. House Baratheon, the Kings house, and the house of his brother who is helping to niggle away at the cracks showing in the kingdom once the king dies. House Lannister, who control much of the wealth of Westeros. Many houses are in debt to them, and they are married into House Baratheon via Cersei who is the Queen. Over seas, there is another threat in the form of Viserys Targaryan and his sister Daenerys, who were originally heirs to the Throne of the Seven Kingdoms, and were once upon a time Dragon Lords.
Up North of Winterfell, the Starks noble home, there is the Wall, where Lord Starks bastard son joins the Black Brotherhood, who man the 600ft wall and protect the Southern lands from any potential enemies behind it.
While it might sound very much like a war epic, let me assure you it is not.
This series tries very hard, and succeeds, to accurately portray every character as they were written in the books, which is a feat in itself, from the young children, to the Lords and Ladies of the lands. It really is every bit a fantasy series, from supernatural threat, magic swords, dragons, barbarians and without spoiling the story, other things lol.
I feel I can appreciate the series further as I also have the books, and reading them along side the series gives me a greater understanding and adds an even greater depth to the characters.
Game of Thrones is violent, scary and sometimes a bit erotic.
I implore anyone who likes fantasy to look into these series', it won't be regretted. Everything you would want in a fantasy epic is right here ready for you to enjoy.
Last April when Sky Atlantic first began broadcasting, trailers started appearing for a new series named Game of Thrones. It seemed a bit too Lord of the Rings-esque for my liking, especially when I heard that it was based on A Song of Ice and Fire, which is a series of fantasy novels by G R R Martin.
However, my sister then mentioned it to me one day and said that my electrician brother in law had actually worked on the show. As it was filmed mostly here in Northern Ireland, he was employed on the set throughout the filming of the debut season (and he has also worked on season 2 which was filmed last year). Due to this, I decided to watch the first episode, fully expecting to be bored out of my head.
Boy was I wrong.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Game of Thrones season 1 is based on the first of G R R Martin's novels, A Game of Thrones. It is set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and follows several families quest to claim the Iron Throne ie. become the King, in the capital King's Landing. The main families/groups in this series are -
THE MAIN CHARACTERS
The Starks: This family controls the North. The head of the family is Ned (Sean Bean). He does not want to become King, and would rather stay in the North than get involved with the struggle for the Iron Throne. He lives with his wife Catelyn, and their children Bran, Rickon, Arya, Robb and Sansa; and Ned's bastard son, Jon Snow. Because the Starks are the main focus for the series, you really do find yourselves on their side. Ned's best friend is Robert Baratheon, who is currently King.
The Baratheons: The Baratheons are the ruling family. They include Robert, the King, his wife Cersei, and their eldest son Joffrey, who is just about the most loathsome character you could ever imagine - fantastic. Also related to this family are Cersei's brothers, the handsome Knight Jaime, and the dwarf Tyrion. Tyrion, played by Peter Dinklage, absolutely steals the show, and quite rightly won a Golden Globe for his portrayal of Tyrion.
The Targaryens: Viserys and Daenarys Targaryens are the children of the king that Robert Baratheon defeated. They have been exiled to Essos. Viserys believes that the Iron Throne is rightfully his, and their storyline is based around Viserys marrying his sister off to a Dothraki horselord, hoping the Dothraki will become his army.
There are other families involved such as the Arryn family, the Greyjoy family, and the Tully family. I honestly won't even attempt to explain how all the families are linked, as it's not massively important to know this for the first season. If you watch this you may find that like myself, you end up buying the books and become embroiled in this huge world that G R R Martin has created.
The other major plotline in the series is based around -
The Night's Watch: This a group of 'black brothers', ie. men who guard the North from what lies beyond The Wall, a 700 foot high wall of ice that protects The Seven Kingdoms from the Far North and the wild people that live there. Ned Stark's bastard son Jon Snow swears an oath to the Night's Watch, and his journey forms one of the main storylines.
I did find the plot complicated at times, particularly when it came to the history of the characters and the relationships between all the families. After one episode I went and bought the book, and read it almost as an accompaniment to the TV show as it was broadcast. I found the TV show a lot more enjoyable as the book made me understand some plots a lot more, and really enhanced my viewing.
There is a wealth of acting talent in this show, such as Sean Bean, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Richard Madden, Peter Vaughn and Charles Dance. There are also new talents such as Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke. Acting wise, Clarke is perhaps the weak link but I believe this is her first big acting job, so the producers must have placed a lot of faith in her, and I hope to see her do bigger and better in season 2. There is also a surprisingly brilliant turn by Jerome Flynn of Robson and Jerome fame as the sellsword Bronn, and his relationship with Tyrion brings much needed light(er) relief to the show at times. As I have stated previously, Peter Dinklage is the absolute stand out actor in the series.
"BOOBS AND BE-HEADINGS"
...is what I described the show as after watching the first episode. There is a large amount of both female and male nudity; no holds-barred sex scenes (including a lesbian sex scene which is completely unnecessary to be honest); and graphic violence, including a shocking scene involving a horse which really is grim. There is also strong language - well, it is HBO after all. While yes, there's sex and violence, Game of Thrones is so much more than that, and thankfully the 'titillating' parts do not take away from the amazing drama.
There is also a great list of extras on the DVD, including a 30 minute feature on the making of the show, character profiles, and an interactive guide to the lands and houses in the show.
At around £25.99 for the DVD, this isn't exactly the cheapest considering there are 'only' 10 episodes. But in my opinion it is totally worth it. It's an absorbing, compelling show - full of sex, violence, intrigue and drama. If you, like me, think this wouldn't be your 'thing', I'd recommend you put any fears aside and dive straight into this series. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
With season two nearing the horizon and season one already shown around the globe on television, HBO recently decided to release the first volume of their pristine fantasy epic (adapted from the first novel of a series [A Song of Ice and Fire] by George R. R. Martin) on DVD and Blue-ray. The furious scale and mountainous detail heaped into Martin's universe (or more specifically, Westeros - for this series) rivals that of the genres master, Tolkien - and it has to be said from the beginning that HBO and David Benioff (amongst others) have done a colossal job here. Bringing the deeply documented doings of an ancient-seeming setting to life in extraordinary quality couldn't have been an easy task.
The story of 'Game of Thrones' follows the life of Eddard Stark (the sensational Sean Bean), Lord of Winterfell and guardian of the North - a desolate region of the world, constantly threatened by a nearing winter and the wild humans and other's which lie beyond 'The Wall' the Northerners guard.
'Winter is coming' acts almost as a slogan for the series, a frequently mentioned phrase used as both a metaphor to express the increasing social unrest of the population, and the literal arrival of a cold and dark time - a time which has in the past lasted years, not months. The main fear associated with winter and coldness approaching is the rumoured return of the 'White Walkers' from beyond The Wall - they are a mythological race which story foretold had previously waged war on the Kingdom of Westeros, though the species is now regarded as either extinct or never to have existed in the first place. Nonetheless there is a general feeling amongst men of the lands that the time approaching will be one full of drawn out difficulty and suffering.
Eddard Stark's (Ned's) family who belong to the House of Stark (one of several Houses visualised in the series) are a close-net people, portrayed with similarities to a real life family - each character with their own likes and dislikes, aspirations and problems. Game of Thrones does an excellent job of getting across the individual family members personalities (capitalised by a collection of exceptional performances by the cast).
Catelyn Stark (Michelle Fairley) is the wife of Ned and they share five children, Robb, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon (in order of age). Catelyn is a good mother, but when it comes to Ned's bastard son, Jon Snow, Catelyn shows no emotion despite the boys closeness with his half-siblings. This relationship is acted out well, and the energy between all the characters of the family is captured with viewer insight, drawing you into the world through one small corner of it.
When one branch of the story-line takes Jon Snow to The Wall to carry out his days as a protector of the Kingdoms (with the 'Nights Watch') from the front-line, he becomes more of a central character - and Kit Harington plays this role to perfection.
Despite the great level of detail and interaction portrayed between Stark family members, the main story-line of the series is actually far wider and more complex than this. In fact, G.o.T is more about the interaction between the House of Baratheon (and King Robert Baratheon), and the House of Lannister (and the King's wife, Queen Cersei Baratheon) with the House of Stark (and Ned).
A grouping filled with extravagant individuals obsessed with either sex, blood, power or knowledge (or a combination of the above), the Baratheon/Lannister union is complex and highly interesting. The twists and turns between these factions create fantastic moments of thrilling drama, action and horror. My favourite character here has to be the 'imp' Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage), a loud mouthed intellectual dwarf who takes up his time reading ancient literature and visiting the various brothels of King's Landing and the rest of Westeros. Also playing a key role in the main story-line, this character sums up the royal class of the Kingdoms in an unrivalled way.
Ned Stark's involvement with the two Houses exists because of his history with the King (a friend of some 30-years), but it quickly spirals to a new level when King Robert asks him to be his 'First Hand' - a prestigious role within the royal arena which spells danger for Stark's family and involves him leaving Winterfell for permanent stay at King's Landing (the capital). The King's plan for Ned's promotion also involves the joining of the two families (Houses) through the marriage of Ned's daughter, Sansa and the King's son, Prince Joffrey (both aged about 13). The relationship between the two youngsters is well depicted, and as with most happenings it leads to further difficulties for Ned.
There are also two more Houses rendered, one is the House of Catelyn Stark's family (House of Arynn) which is run by Catelyn's be-crazed sister and her twisted child, Lord Robin Arynn - who despite being of an age below 7 has soaked up a personality of power and cruelty (much the making of his mother's smothering influence).
The other House is that of Targarwen - perhaps the most significant - for it depicts the exiled siblings of the previous King of Westeros, the King which King Robert (alongside Ned) overthrew to gain the Iron Thrown years before.
Princess Daenerys and Prince Viserys - the feeble air to the thrown - though exiled, have found a new race to reside - the Dothraki peoples lead by Khal Drogo. Prince Viserys plans to wed his sister with the Khal in order to acquire the barbarions fearsome army and take back the Kingdom for himself.
Daenerys relationship is one of brutality and harshness to begin with. She is frequently raped by Drogo, and it's only when she gradually learns to manipulate her position within the tribe that things start to change.
The Houses difficulties and the tensions between them are staged throughout the series in various ways. Though the story-line focuses on Ned's struggles, it does wander through and across many other important (and not so important) character paths which give the episodes depth and meaning on contrasting scales. The series is sleek and consistent in the way it does this.
Using a collection of authentic set locations and gritty props, the whole thing is shot in a subtly dramatic way. It's only in your face when it needs to be. Yes there are beheadings, realistic sword slit wounds and the like, but violence happens when it should and the bulk of the episodes are devoted to well thought out scripture portrayed by the cast. There are no 'Return of the King' cavalry charges (to the disappointment of some), but I'm sure this will come in the following series.
The best thing about Game of Thrones is its level of complexity, and the magnificent, inspiring way the makers of the series have managed to refine the story-line into a 10-hour platform everyone can follow. The character performances are believable, the sets and props are realistic, and the whole thing works in unison to draw you in, urging you to watch on and on and on...
The DVD which was released recently contains all 10 episodes of the first season. The second season is coming out on the 1st of April 2012, so now seems a good time to buy the DVD, watch the first season and prepare for HBO's follow up in a few weeks time.
Extras on the DVD include:
- A complete guide to Westeros - a compendium of the noble Houses and lands.
- The making of the Thrones - a 30-minute feature with interviews and new footage from the sets of the series.
- Character profiles - the 15 major characters described by the actors themselves.
- Show opener - inside look at the series opening sequence (Emmy-award winning).
- 'From the book to the screen' - a documentary talk with the author and series producers about the difficulties entailed when making G.o.T a reality.
- 'The nights watch' - a look at the men who patrol the wall.
- 'Creating the Dothraki language' - insight into the forming of the language portrayed in the film.
- Audio commentaries are also included to guide you through the episodes as they are played out before you.
The extras on this DVD are excellent compared to other series additionals I've encountered. The creators seem to have put a lot of time and effort into explaining the making of the series for the benefit of those truly interested in it. The die-hard fans of G.o.T will be grateful as I am, though I wish the series was a little cheaper to purchase (£30 on DVD and £40 on Blue-ray) - quite a price for only the first season of a series created the year before.
All in all, Game of Thrones has been an experience to watch. It's enthralled me every step of the way and I can do nothing but recommend it on every level. After watching the thing within three days, all I want to do now is watch it again - luckily I (and we) have the second instalment to look forward to now.